Multiple motors cooperate to establish and maintain acentrosomal spindle bipolarity in C. elegans oocyte meiosis

Gabriel Cavin-Meza, Michelle M. Kwan, Sarah M. Wignall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


While centrosomes organize spindle poles during mitosis, oocyte meiosis can occur in their absence. Spindles in human oocytes frequently fail to maintain bipolarity and consequently undergo chromosome segregation errors, making it important to understand the mechanisms that promote acentrosomal spindle stability. To this end, we have optimized the auxin-inducible degron system in Caenorhabditis elegans to remove the factors from pre-formed oocyte spindles within minutes and assess the effects on spindle structure. This approach revealed that dynein is required to maintain the integrity of acentrosomal poles; removal of dynein from bipolar spindles caused pole splaying, and when coupled with a monopolar spindle induced by depletion of the kinesin-12 motor KLP-18, dynein depletion led to a complete dissolution of the monopole. Surprisingly, we went on to discover that following monopole disruption, individual chromosomes were able to reorganize local microtubules and re-establish a miniature bipolar spindle that mediated chromosome segregation. This revealed the existence of redundant microtubule sorting forces that are undetectable when KLP-18 and dynein are active. We found that the kinesin-5 family motor BMK-1 provides this force, uncovering the first evidence that kinesin-5 contributes to C. elegans meiotic spindle organization. Altogether, our studies have revealed how multiple motors are working synchronously to establish and maintain bipolarity in the absence of centrosomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Feb 11 2022


  • C. elegans
  • acentrosomal
  • cell biology
  • genetics
  • genomics
  • meiosis
  • microtubule
  • motor
  • oocyte
  • spindle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)


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